39 Behavior Goals for an IEP | Printable | Work/Task Completion

iep behavior goals

Behavior IEP Goals

I can’t believe I haven’t tackled this topic before. Well, ok, I can. It’s an IEP subject area that is incredibly complex. It also is one that affects our kids day-to-day the most, and in my opinion, is usually handled the worst. I see horrible FBAs completed by well-intended staff who have no business doing one, and the results show it.

But, goals can be a starting point. If you’re having trouble defining what it is that your child is struggling with, sometimes reading over goals describing desirable behavior can help get you there.

iep behavior goals

Please note: There’s a lot of overlap when it comes to various areas of need that a child has. If you are looking for Social Emotional goals, I have a list of those too. If you don’t find what you need here, you made find it there.

This post has a lot of lists. So grab a cup of something and poke around a while. Behavior is a complex topic, and you cannot talk about behavior goals without also talking about FBAs, discipline, manifestation hearings and so on. As I say, “knowledge base I wish I didn’t have to have” but I do.

But let’s not put the cart before the horse.

You have to start with an FBA. A friend and Behavior Specialist wrote this excellent post about behavior and FBAs. That should definitely be your starting point if your child has not had an FBA.

Can you have Behavior Goals without an FBA?

Short answer is yes. However, doing an FBA first is best practice. And, how do you know that you need behavior goals if you have not done any evaluations regarding behavior? You would need the FBA to drive the Behavior Plan within the IEP.

That being said, if my child’s behaviors were minimal, and adequately addressed in the IEP without an FBA, I’m not sure that would be a battle I would fight. Every situation is different.

Main thing to remember: All behavior tells you something. What is your child trying to say?

Can you have a Behavior Plan without an IEP?

Again, short answer is yes. I have seen it done (though I did not question the validity of doing it this way as it was not my client). For some kids, their only area of need might be behavior. Therefore it kinda sorta makes sense that they only need a behavior plan and not a full blown IEP.

However, I think this is a horrible practice. If a child has behaviors significant enough to warrant a behavior plan, then they should have an IEP. And therefore the procedural protections it offers as far as discipline and manifestation hearings. You can read more about that below too. Again, this is a complex topic with lots of tangents.

Teach the skill or accommodate the deficit.

In behavior, there’s a whole lot of talk about “making good choices.” Just make sure that the child has the skill set before the expectation is set. It’s very easy to lay out expectations of what you wish for a child to do. Classroom behavior goals are never going to happen if the foundation isn’t there.

If a child lacks a skill, it is never going to happen. This goes back to your FBA. Make sure that as behaviors are listed, that they are defined as either “will of the child” or “lack of skill set.”

There is a huge difference, but both can result in being expelled from school.

Two of my favorite experts for behavior are Ross Greene and Peter Gerhardt.

Behavior Goals for an IEP

I didn’t need to reinvent the wheel. There are lots of great sites to pull from. I have included some goals that I wasn’t that crazy about. Many of them were on a list with other decent goals.

Some had wording like “will act mad the right way.” You know what’s wrong with that one, right? Who says what is the right way to be mad? Does the child even know this? And how to do it? So while I think that the bulk of these are good, there are starting points.

Lists of Behavior Goals

This is just part of a giant list. I like that some of these behavior goals include work completion goals.

  1. By the expiration date of this IEP, _______ will manage conflicts, independent of teacher support in 4 of 5 observed occurrences over a 2 month period as measured by observations and performance assessments.
  2. By the expiration date of this IEP, given a self-monitoring checklist and positive reinforcement system, _______ will demonstrate self-regulation during 90% of weekly sessions as measured by observations across 2 months.
  3. Given visual support, _______ will complete his work with a calm body (i.e., sitting at his desk, safe hands) for 25 minutes during a session with 80% accuracy over a 2 month period as measured by observation in the school environment by the expiration of this IEP.
  4. By the expiration of this IEP, _______ will use contextual language (contextual language includes any language appropriate for the context and excludes scripting, moaning, grunting, and other vocalizations emitted out of context) with appropriate volume while in an environment outside of the classroom during 80% of a minimum of 200 recorded 5-minute intervals over a 2 month period, as measured by observation and performance assessments.
  5. By the expiration of this IEP, given a writing assignment, _______ will initiate his work as evidenced by beginning to write letters on his paper within 1 minute of the assignment being presented in 80% of a minimum of 20 recorded opportunities over a period of 2 months, as measured by observation and performance assessments.
  6. Throughout the school environment while using a five-piece token board with a visual of his rules (follow directions and have a safe body) listed at the top, _______ will follow both of his rules (follow directions and have a safe body) to earn all five of his tokens for each half-hour period, in group and 1:1 academic sessions, in 80% of trials probed in 4/5 observations for at least a 2 month period before the expiration of this IEP, as measured by observations and performance assessments.
  7. _______ will request (verbally or with cue card) and take a break when he needs one, and return back to a task after a break independently in 8 out 10 opportunities over a minimum of two months, as measured by observations and performance assessment by the expiration date of this IEP.

IEP Behavior Goals by category

Thank you to a reader for emailing me this list that was shared with her at school. Some of them, as written, are not really measurable. Remember you can always insert the desired behavior into the IEP goal formula to make it concrete and measurable.

IEP goal formula for special education

On-Task/ Work Completion Goals

  1. When given a task or direction ______ will begin the task within 1 minute and remain on task for a minimum of 10 minutes independently with no more than 2 prompts on 8 out of 10 independent tasks, as measured by staff data.
  2. Given a maximum of one verbal cue, _______will attend to a non-preferred, small-group activity and/or independent assignment, without protest, and remain on task with no task avoidance (bathroom, getting a jacket, tying shoes, sharpening pencil, etc.) for 20 minutes, in 3 out of 4 trials, as measured by observations and staff documentation.
  3. _______ will demonstrate on task-behavior in the general education setting for 75% of intervals during a 10 minute period, with the use of an appropriate fidget and one adult reminder, in 4/5 trials, as measured by observation and data.
  4. ________ will attend (sit still, eyes on teacher, hands to self, quiet voice) to a task during large and small group instruction across settings for a 10 minute period with no more then 1 teacher prompt in 4 out of 5 trials as measured by teacher charted data.
  5. With movement breaks and the use of self-regulation strategies, _____ will demonstrate the ability to attend to a task for an average 75% of intervals in a 20 minute class period.
  6. With the use of taught self-regulation strategies and self-monitoring checklists, ______ will independently begin a task (including non-preferred tasks) within 2 minutes of direction for an average of 80% of opportunities, across environments.
  7. With the use of taught self-regulation strategies and self-monitoring checklists, once ______ has began an independent task, he will then remain focused on the task for at least 10 minutes, free from adult prompts, for an average of 80% of opportunities, across environments.
  8. When given an assigned task, ____ will independently complete an assignment/task, and ask for assistance, if needed, with 80% accuracy in 5 out of 5 consecutive trials, in a small group setting, as measured by teacher-charted observations.
  9. When given a non-preferred task paired with the use of self-regulation strategies and rewards systems, ______ will begin the task within 1 minute, and complete the appropriately modified version of the task within a predesignated appropriate amount of time (with use of timer) on 8 out of 10 opportunities, as measured by staff data.

 Class Participation Goals

  • _______ will demonstrate raising her hand to participate in whole class and/or small group instruction, 80% of the time in 5 out of 5 intervals, as measured by teacher observations.

Coping Skills/ Emotional Regulation/ Self-Regulation IEP Goals

  1. In the classroom environment, ______ will utilize positive self-talk and coping strategies to handle stressful situations or work demands in which he/she manifests anxious or withdrawn behavior (i.e. putting head down, saying he/she can’t do something), demonstrated by engaging in the 30 minute activity or situation in a calm and positive manner with one prompt on 2/3 occasions.
  2. In counseling sessions, _______ will accurately identify feelings and appropriate coping strategies when presented with real or imagined situations with 80% accuracy on 4 out of 5 trials.
  3. When _____ becomes upset, frustrated, or angry, he will use a self-regulation/coping strategy (movement break, deep breathing, quiet space break, deep pressure/heavy work activity, etc.) to avoid engaging in an unexpected behavior, with one reminder, on 4 out of 5 opportunities, as measured by observations and documentation.
  4. __________ will improve his self-regulation skills as demonstrated through utilizing a tool (e.g. inner coach, sensory support, calming break) to aid in regulating to an expected emotional state (e.g. green zone – which is when we feel calm, happy, content, and focused) with one adult reminder on 8 out of 10 instances in a small group setting, as measured over two week period
  5. ______ will improve insight on regulation as demonstrated by identifying the instances where he/she could have benefited from utilizing a tool to aid in regulation and determine what tool would have been beneficial for each instance with 80% accuracy.
  6. When presented with a problem (non-prefered task, frustrating situation, criticism/correction), ______ will accurately determine the size of the problem (big problem, little problem) and determine the appropriate emotional response (take a break, talk with teacher, take a deep breath, replace frustration with good thoughts, etc.) and return to task at hand in 4 out of 5 trials as measured by teacher charted data.
  7. When given a frustrating situation (i.e. undesired task, demand, and/or undesired peer behavior), with one prompt ________ will utilize coping strategies (i.e. take a break, deep breaths, etc.) and return to and remain on task with a calm body and mind for a minimum of 10 minutes with an average of 95% over 8 consecutive school weeks, across all classroom environments.
  8. When presented with a situation known by ______ to be anxiety or frustration producing for him (i.e. non-prefered task, unexpected obstacle such as ______, tasks perceived as too difficult, unfamiliar adult, and non-preferred adult), he will independently demonstrate an appropriate emotional response through finding a solution to his problem or using a strategy to regulate back to an expected emotional state (take a break, talk with teacher, etc.) and return to task at hand within 2 minutes, for an average of 80% of instances both throughout all environments and within each environment.

Self -Control IEP Goals

  1. _______ will show self-control of his/her body and voice (good personal space, keeping hands/arms/legs  near body, and appropriate voice level) in relation to the expected levels of the classroom and peers around him for 80% of a 20 minute period.
  2. ________ will demonstrate self-control in the classroom through raising his/her hand and waiting to be called on by the teacher when he/she has a question in class, with 80% accuracy in 5 out of 5 trials, as measured by teacher observation and data collection. 

Self-Monitoring IEP Goals

  1. _______ will demonstrate the ability to recognize expected and unexpected behaviors as well as rate his own behavior as part of his self-monitoring system with 80% accuracy as compared to teacher ratings of behavior.
  2. ______ will demonstrate the ability to accurately recognize her level of anxiety through the use of a visual self-rating system (e.g. feelings thermometer) with 80% accuracy, as compared to teacher observations and data.

IEP Goals for addressing Aggression

  1. _________ will refrain from physical aggression (i.e. kicking, hitting, pushing, tripping) across all environments in school, for 4 consecutive weeks, with all adults and children as measured by event data.
  2. _________ will refrain from aggression (i.e. hitting, kicking, pushing) 100% of the day, across all environments, with all adults and children as measured by special education event data, over 8 consecutive weeks.

Anxiety IEP Goals

  1. In counseling sessions, _____ will accurately identify situations that can be anxiety producing and appropriate coping strategies or relaxation techniques when presented with real or imagined situations with 80% accuracy on 4 out of 5 trials.
  2. ______ will demonstrate the ability to accurately recognize her level of anxiety through the use of a visual self-rating system (e.g. feelings thermometer) with 80% accuracy, as compared to teacher observations and data.

Negative Comments and Gestures-Goals

With the use of Cognitive Behavioral Intervention (strategy of learning to regulate thoughts and beliefs in counseling paired with daily reinforcement as tools are utilized), _____ will reduce instances of negative comments and gestures to an average of 1 instance per hour, across all classroom settings, as measured over 6 trial days. 

Non-Compliance/ Following Directions

  1. When given a frustrating situation (i.e. non-preferred task, not being able to choose preferred activity such as computers, etc) _______ will engage in no more than 20 minutes of non-compliance over a week period as measured through time sampling data.
  2. Given a three step functional direction from an adult, _____ will complete all three steps with a maximum of 1 additional prompt in 4 out of 5 trials as measured by teacher observation and data.
  3. Through the use of Self-Monitoring checklists, _______ will reduce instances of Passive Non-Compliance (becomes purposely and increasingly distracted through ignoring tasks, demands, or staff directives) to an average of 20% of intervals or less, both across all educational environments and within each educational environment, as measured across a one week period.
  4. During a 20 academic task, ____ will respond to staff directives in an expected manner within 1 minute and with one reminder on 4 out of 5 trials, as measured by teacher observation and data.

Social/Emotional Problem Solving Goals 

When given scenarios of social conflicts, ______ will demonstrate problem solving skills by identifying the problem and generating two solutions appropriate to the situation in 4/5 trials, as measured by data collection.

Printable List of Behavior Goals

Behavior-Goals-for-an-IEP


behavior goals

And this might help....

Share via
Copy link